2013 BMW X3
2013 BMW X3. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2013 BMW X3

It’s a good thing BMW’s 2.0L TwinPower turbo-four and eight-speed auto make for such a winning combo, because they’re wedging it under the hoods of just about every vehicle they make.

Now the five-seat X3 mid-size crossover gets this blown four-pot and octo-cogged duo. It’s called the 2013 BMW X3 xDrive28i. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Fuel economy is the name of the game here, and the all-wheel-drive X3 28i with a base price of $42,450 claims 9.5 L/100 city and 7.0 L/100 km highway. As always, these numbers are optimistic. When I picked up this tester the average fuel economy read 13.4 L/100, which implies some serious lead-footed activity. I managed a respectable 10.4 L/100 at the end of my run, much of which was on the highway.

About the only criticism you can level at this engine, other than its need for premium fuel, is that it clatters like a diesel when cold and it never completely quiets down, although you don’t hear anything on the inside once the engine is warm. The X3 weighs about 1,900 kg, which mutes the performance of this 241-hp engine when compared to the lighter 3 Series sedan, X1 crossover or Z4 sports car, but as always it’s that 258 lb-ft of torque available from 1,250 to 4,800 rpm that provides effortless urge.

, ,,. Click image to enlarge

Well, as long as you’re not in Eco Pro mode, which when activated feels like someone snipped a couple of plug wires and installed Hizzonner Mayor Ford and Hizzbrother Doug in the back seat. Not recommended unless you’re very serious about saving fuel and holding up traffic.

Comfort is the default setting, while Sport does exactly that – throttle response quickens, shift points are moved further up the rev range and the steering gains a bit more heft. With many manufacturers these “Sport” settings seem more like a placebo (“Is this thing on?”), but kudos to BMW for its calibrations. Sport makes for quite a transformation.

The X3 is a handsome and purposeful looking rig. The dash design is classic Bimmer, and here showed good build quality although the beige “Leatherette” seating surfaces feel disappointingly cheap, and Senior Editor Yarkony noted some crude finish on the rear door handles. Vinyl in a $50,000 (as tested) Bimmer? Hmmmm…

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